It’s been a slow and painful process, but it appears that sports betting is finally on the horizon for Maryland. The debate is no longer whether or not sports betting should be legalized, but rather, the debate is now in regards to when legal wagering will start and where it could take place at.
These issues could be resolved this November when sports betting is expected to be on the ballots for the public to vote on. If approved, Maryland could have legal sports betting by December 2020.
Multiple Issues to Consider
The first step in this process is for the state’s legislature to pass a bill that can be voted on. Currently, there are multiple bills to consider. Last year, a sports betting bill was presented to the General Assembly, but it never really got off the ground. A version of that bill could still be in play.
Currently, the majority of discussions have been centered on bill SB 58 which was authored by Senator Chris West. This bill isn’t as comprehensive as we’ve seen from other states, but it’s a starting point that Senator West and his constituencies hope will lead to fruitful resolutions.
Online and Mobile Sports Betting
With momentum picking up, thanks to West’s bill, there’s still multiple issues that need to be resolved. For starters, where will Maryland residents be able to wager on sports. SB 58 states that residents can only wager on sports at casinos and racetracks.
Maryland has 11 casinos and racetracks, which would be the only venues to get a sports betting license if SB 58 is passed. West believes that residents wagering at these locations will help create revenue for the venues and nearby businesses. However, he’s against online betting, which would be a huge mistake.
West believes that legalized sports betting could generate $40 to $60 million dollars in revenue each year based on the proposed 20% tax rate. Unfortunately, those numbers aren’t realistic without online and mobile betting.
This is where additional bills are expected to be drafted during the state’s session. Other legislators have seen how online sports betting has created massive numbers for neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It’s believed that 80% of their sports betting revenue has come from online and mobile sports wagering.
Other sports betting issues to consider:
- Where will the tax revenue go?
- Who will be in charge of sports betting?
- Will it be permitted to wager on in-state schools?
Early indications are that the majority of state leaders want to see the revenue go to education funds. Maryland Lottery is the frontrunner to oversee sports betting as they’re already set up to manage such gaming activities.
Lastly, it’s a good bet that Maryland follows what other states have done and ban all wagers on in-state schools.
Sports Betting Getting a Push From Daniel Snyder
In addition to state leaders making a significant effort, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has also entered the picture by pushing for legalized sports betting. The billionaire owner recently met with state lawmakers to share his vision on this topic.
Snyder’s team plays in Landover, Maryland, and the owner wants to build a new stadium that will allow sports betting. This scenario would boost revenue for all parties involved and add some excitement for in-stadium fans.
If all goes according to Snyder’s vision, this in-stadium betting could spread throughout the NFL as Maryland’s other football team the Baltimore Ravens might also embrace sports betting at their stadium as well.
With a major in-state sports franchise pushing for legalization, it’s just one more factor that will help sway the general public to vote for sports betting in November.
FanDuel Ready to Operate
Last month, FanDuel entered a partnership with Cordish Companies who own Maryland Live!, which is the largest casino in the state. The partnership makes FanDuel the official sports betting operator for all of Cordish Companies’ venues both in Maryland and in nearby states like Pennsylvania where they have numerous venues.
Once Maryland officially legalizes sports betting, which won’t be until December 2020 at the earliest, the state’s largest casino will be ready to launch sports betting the first day allowed. It’s safe to say that the other five casinos will also follow suit and find sports betting partnerships sooner than later.